Fox 411 columnist and Jann Wenner enemy Roger Friedman is alleging that the radio monopolists at Clear Channel have flat-out told the programmers at their rock stations that they can’t play tracks from Bruce Springsteen’s Magic, despite the album being No. 1 on the charts last week. Songs from the Boss’ vault, like “Born To Run” and “Born In The USA,” are OK, and that’s causing Friedman to cry ageism:
Clear Channel seems to have sent a clear message to other radio outlets that at age 58, Springsteen simply is too old to be played on rock stations. This completely absurd notion is one of many ways Clear Channel has done more to destroy the music business than downloading over the last 10 years. It’s certainly what’s helped create satellite radio, where Springsteen is a staple and even has his own channel on Sirius.
It’s not just Springsteen. There is no sign at major radio stations of new albums by John Fogerty or Annie Lennox, either. The same stations that should be playing Santana’s new singles with Chad Kroeger or Tina Turner are avoiding them, too.
Like Springsteen, these “older” artists have been relegated to something called Triple A format stations — i.e. either college radio or small artsy stations such as WFUV in the Bronx, N.Y., which are immune from the Clear Channel virus of pre-programming and where the number of plays per song is a fraction of what it is on commercial radio.
While Friedman does raise a good point about the peculiarity of radio shunning the few artists who can actually sell records these days–and there probably is some sort of insidious “ew, they’re old” attitude toward even the biggest-selling older artists–there’s probably a much more simple explanation for Bruce’s absence from these stations’ playlists: the only major rock format that even plays artists like Springsteen–i.e., a guy who isn’t constantly having tantrums about life/girls/what-have-you sucking over super-compressed tracks–is “classic rock,” a format that seemingly adds two or three songs to its playlists a year. Maybe in 2012, “Radio Nowhere” will finally make it to these stations (if they still exist!), but I think the indifference Friedman is speaking to is more the result of scaredy-cat programmers who are afraid to upset the “getting the Led out” apple cart than ageism. Although if Led Zeppelin’s new songs are also summarily ignored by these stations, perhaps his argument will have at least a little weight.
Bruce: Magic Refused Radio Play [Fox 411]